|Image courtesy JD Foods|
I adore chicken salad. My family adores it as well. I often cook extra chicken so that we can turn it into chicken salad for leftovers. It makes for a great afternoon snack with a few crackers, a nice hearty sandwich for lunch or dinner. I can also toss it into a salad. It's really the perfect food and the fact that it's protein-packed means that it will really satisfy an appetite and not leave you feeling hungry shortly thereafter.
There are so many variations but let's start off with a basic chicken salad.
4 - 8 skinless chicken breasts (or more) cleaned and trimmed
1/4 onion finely chopped
*Light mayonnaise (I use about 2 tablespoon per breast)
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Tarragon to taste
In a large pot bring water to a ** boil.
Add chicken breasts and cook for about 20 minutes
Remove from water and let cool.
Cut into bite sized pieces. In a large bowl toss in with mayo, onion, celery, salt, pepper and tarragon. Adjust seasonings to taste if necessary.
Serve with a green salad, French bread or as a sandwich on rye, sourdough, country hearth, or whole wheat sandwich bread.
* Regular mayonnaise has 100 calories per tablespoon and light mayonnaise has just 40 calories per tablespoon. If you haven't already make the switch!
** If you live in an area where you can grill year-round or where your grill is not covered with a foot of snow, grilled chicken makes a wonderful chicken salad and adds wonderful flavors and textures. You simply need to season your chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil. BBQ'd chicken makes a wonderful chicken salad as well!
* Instead of the tarragon you could add some Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasonings. I just love to use the Herbes de Provence in mine!
* My son loves to add some BBQ sauce to his.
* I have added feta, olives, peppers and oregano to give it a Greek twist
* Add a little bit of Dijon mustard
* Sprinkle a little bit of Gorgonzola, and toasted pine nuts to give it an Italian flair
* Some people like grapes or cashews or dried cranberries
* Toss in some pesto with a squeeze of extra lemon
* You can do the same with a chimichuri sauce or a cilantro sauce. I just love the flavors these add.
* Rosemary and lemon add a nice fresh almost summery flavor
* Substitute regular salt for something like Lawry's Seasoned Salt for an intense flavor
* Add an olive tapenade (good quality, store bought is fine)
* Add sun dried tomatoes
* Dill and the juice and zest of a lemon
(Use fresh herbs when in season. Dried herbs are fine as well.)
I bet with all these suggestions you'll have a lot of chicken salad from here on in as well!